Arizona Is a Haven for Refugees

Jason DeParle, New York Times, October 8, 2010

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Even as officials rage at what they have called the “invasion” of illegal immigrants, mostly Mexicans, Arizona has welcomed thousands of legal immigrants from such grief-torn lands as Somalia, Myanmar and Iraq, and is known for treating them unusually well.

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{snip} Arizona took in about 4,700 refugees last year, but is thought to have about 375,000 illegal immigrants. {snip}

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Last year, the federal government admitted about 75,000 refugees, out of 10.5 million worldwide, and it covers most resettlement costs. State officials administer the money and help decide how many refugees they can take; private agencies do the casework, helping find housing and jobs.

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Refugees seem slow to sympathize [with illegals]. The two groups often compete for jobs or housing, and some refugees say Latino gangs have preyed on them.

“I have some problems with the Mexican people; they stole my goats,” [a Sudanese goat farmer] said. “If they don’t have documents, they should go back to their country.”

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